Celebrate World Smile Day® Friday, October 2, 2015
Did you know that world smile day is coming up? As is well known throughout the world Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963.
That image went on to become the most recognisable symbol of goodwill and good cheer on the planet.
As the years passed Harvey Ball became concerned about the over-commercialisation of his symbol, and how its original meaning and intent had become lost in the constant repetition in the marketplace.
Out of that concern came his idea for World Smile Day®. He thought that we should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world.
The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion.
In this blog post we thought we would let you know about how we can help you smile if you feel your teeth are letting you down.
Cosmetic dentistry, what is available?
Before any dental practice undertakes any form of cosmetic dental option they should always ensure that your teeth and gums are in good condition. A full dental health assessment should always be undertaken, this may result in an extended period of dental health education with a dental hygienist prior to any cosmetic dentistry.
Once your teeth and gums are healthy we can begin looking at your cosmetic dentistry options.
In order to make things simple we are going to look at this from the following aspects:
- Straightening crooked teeth.
- Whitening dark teeth.
- Rebuilding broken down teeth.
To resolve these problems there are a range of treatments often used in cosmetic dentistry:
- Dental veneers.
- Teeth whitening.
- Dental bonding.
Let’s now look at how these treatments can be used to solve each of the dental problems mentioned.
Straightening crooked teeth
The 3 primary ways we can straighten crooked teeth with cosmetic dentistry are by using.
- Dental bonding.
- Dental veneers.
This is the most minimally invasive option and is when your dentist applies a small amount of tooth coloured resin over the area to be adjusted. Typically this technique is used for teeth which are set back and require building forwards slightly to be in line with their neighbours. The technique is often called instant or immediate tooth veneers.
One of the great advantages of this technique is that it often requires no anaesthetic injection and is completely painless. It is also extremely quick as the material is applied directly to your tooth in the dental surgery.
A disadvantage with dental bonding is that the composite material may have some degradation of colour over time, normally however, your dentist can polish the surface to regain its original shade.
These are made of thin yet high-strength dental ceramic.
Your dentist will gently remove approximately 0.5 mm of the outer enamel of your teeth. This is so that the veneer has an adequate and secure bedding onto which it will be bonded. The veneer is made by a dental technician who can make it to realign teeth and also change the colour.
Dental veneers have a good history of a long life although you do need to remember that veneers can fracture if you accidentally knock them.
Dental bonding can be done immediately on your teeth giving you an instant result, however, ceramic dental veneers typically take between two and three weeks to make. Whilst the dental technician is making your veneers you will be fitted with a transitional veneer on each tooth.
Orthodontics to straighten teeth.
This is the most conservative option to straighten teeth as you maintain all of your natural dentition and have no additional materials such as dental composite or dental ceramic added to your teeth. One of the most popular orthodontic options is Invisalign, this offers clear braces which are an excellent way to straighten teeth without people easily noticing.
Orthodontics has the distinct advantage of often not requiring any reduction of tooth structure like dental veneers.
One of the disadvantages of orthodontics however is that it takes considerably longer. If you had dental veneers you could achieve a new improved smile in approximately 2 or 3 weeks, with orthodontics (depending on which system you have) you will be looking at anything from 16 weeks for very simple cases , up to 2 years for more complex cases.
How to whiten dark teeth
The most commonly selected option for patients is teeth whitening. Tooth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it may lighten the existing shade.
Whitening involves the application of a peroxide gel to the surface of your teeth. This is typically held in place by a custom-made tray which fits precisely over your teeth. You wear this tray, with the gel inside each day for around two hours. The whole process often takes about two weeks to reach the desired shade, although this is entirely in your control.
In a small number of cases where teeth are more resistant or you want very white shades then the whitening treatment could be used for a longer period.
Where to go to have teeth whitening
Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be performed by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental therapist, on the prescription of a dentist.
Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening, but this is illegal if there’s no dental professional present, and it may put your oral health at risk.
You can also buy DIY home teeth whitening kits but these may also carry risks.
Whitening teeth with dental bonding or dental veneers
This is where the various treatments begin to overlap. Because both dental bonding and dental veneers involve placing a new layer over your existing tooth they can be useful for whitening, so long as that layer is thick enough to cover up any underlying dark tooth.
If you have many teeth which require whitening we would not typically recommend any form of restorative treatment such as bonding or veneers.
These restorative treatments are usually only reserved for exceptionally dark teeth which may not respond to conventional teeth whitening procedures.
The options to rebuild broken down teeth in the most minimally invasive way are by using dental bonding or dental veneers.
If you have severely broken down teeth then dental crowns may also be considered.
Veneers and bonding would be placed over the surface of your natural teeth to cover up any pits, chips or problem areas you want hidden.
Rebuilding broken down teeth
When it comes to rebuilding broken down teeth we use a combination of the treatments already mentioned, dental bonding, dental veneers and/or dental crowns. Most typically it depends upon the amount of restoration that is required, dental bonding can correct small deficiencies, veneers for a little bit more and crowns for larger restorations.
Most dentists will want to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible so that bonding or veneers are often the preferred option. This is not always possible and crowns may be the only way forwards.
Dental crowns will be either metal free or contain some amount of metal alloy. The metal is used to create a high-strength substructure over which the tooth coloured ceramic is applied. If you have particular allergies to any metals then you should mention this to your dentist. Most good-quality metals used in dentistry contain a high proportion of gold as this is extremely inert and well accepted by the human body
The Dental Centre London offers a range of cosmetic dental options. We never proceed with any cosmetic dentistry until you are dentally fit and healthy. You may be required to undergo a period of dental hygiene treatments prior to beginning any cosmetic dentistry. This is to ensure that we have excellent long term outcomes for all the treatments that we do.
The main objective is to give you stable and functional teeth to keep you smiling!